5* A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
"I have never had such a request before. I do not think it is within my power to grant it."
He sent me to another and higher official of the same Department. The comical scene which had taken place in his room was re-enacted once more. My optimism began to drain away out of my shoes.
"Impossible!" declared the second official kindly but firmly, thinking he had before him a tame lunatic. "The thing is unheard of. I regretó" his voice trailed off, the while he shrugged his shoulders.
He rose from his chair to bow me out of the room.
It was then that my journalistic and editorial training, lulled for several years but not dead, rose rebelliously into action. I began to argue with him, persisted in repeating my request in other ways, and refused to budge from the room. He got rid of me, finally, by saying that the matter did not come within the jurisdiction of the Antiquities Department.
Within whose jurisdiction did it come, then, I enquired. He was not quite sure but thought I had better apply to the police.
I realized that my request was eccentric at the least and sufficient to label me as insane at the most. Nevertheless I could not drop it. The determination to carry it out had become an obsession.
At Police Headquarters I discovered a Permit Section. For the third time I begged to be allowed to spend one night inside the Pyramid. The official did not know what to do with me so he sent me to his chief. The latter wanted a little time to consider the matter. When I returned next day he referred me to the Department of Antiquities!
I went home in momentary despair of ever achieving my object.
But "difficulties are often made to be overcome" is a saying whose wearying triteness does not diminish its undying truth. My next move was to secure an interview with the genial Commandant of the Cairo City Police, El Lewa Russell Pacha. I walked out of his office with a written authority, which requested the police chief of the area in which the Pyramid was situated to give me all the assistance necessary to achieve my purpose.
And so, early one evening, I reported at the Mena Police